The Mongolians had it figured out- take a frame and cover it with an insulated blanket of a skin, and you have maximum enclosure with minimum weight in a comfortable yurt. FAT (Fashion, Architecture, Taste, a London design firm) modernized the idea for accommodation for artists at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop,
An exposed steel frame is the infrastructure; then "Wrapping around the frame like a winter coat, a soft, quilted sleeve insulates and waterproofs the unit. Like clothing, the pattern and tailoring of the sleeve characterises each unit. Interior tailoring includes pocket-shelves – panels which books/objects can be stored. The construction of the fabric skin and the frame is intended to be ‘loose’, accentuating the feeling of the unit as shelter."
From the architects:
The interior space is defined by a series of objects:
1. An enclosed bathroom unit containing WC, basin and shower.
2. A chimney and fireplace.
3. A storage unit, which acts as a partial separation between the sleeping area and the main space.
The design of these elements is intended to add unusual character to the units – and differentiate between units - a rock-bathroom exterior recalling the vertical part of the Neolithic stone circles. The chimneys to suggest factories rather than homes. The storage/wardrobe becomes a blackboard to allow temporary personalisation of the space by artists during their stay. ::FAT